Kabaneri – The Battle of Unato — Trains on a Circular Track

May 11th, 2019


Unato was the one between Sinnoh and Kalos, right?


Well, if you're hoping for more of the same as before, then great news, because that's exactly what you're getting, both good and bad. The goofy over the top action is still there, nonsensical flips and cartwheels in place and all, but so is all the dumbass teenager drama, imbecile adults, and the bipolar treatment of all the females. Nothing new, mind you. The princess is still just kind of there, contributing nothing whatsoever but eager to eat up screentime and show off how pretty her hair is. Mumei keeps lurching between pintsize acrobatic badass and plaintive exploited waif dressing up for her man and needing to be saved every 90 seconds by Mr. Nobody Is Listening To Me And I'm Going To Spend All My Time Shouting About It And Clutching My Chest Because Of The Darkness Inside Me.

Then there's the story and antagonists… or rather, the lack of such. For starters, despite being billed as a sequel taking place after the series, it could've been slotted into the main one almost anywhere. It's not so much a sequel film as a random three episode OVA to be watched… whenever… wherever. There's some weird kabaneri mojo in the way that the adults don't take as seriously as the teenagers, and thus, get eaten. And… uh… Ikoma fights off the darkness inside him (again) to save Mumei (again). One new thing (I think), is that one random extra who was obviously a native English speaker. Was that a walk on role? Did someone win a contest? He had about three lines, and they were… notable enough for me to devote almost a whole paragraph to him instead of about the big bad.

The reason for that is that there kind of isn't any big bad. There's one sniper kabaneri who we saw a couple times earlier on, but didn't actually do anything. He's actually introduced (via long flashback, obviously) halfway through the final episode, and killed about three minutes later. Then the cocooned girl he was protecting turns into a giant kabaneri larva or something, I guess? All it does is paw at the train a little until they scrape it off on a conveniently nearby tunnel. At this point, I think everything goes a bit off the rails, because it explodes into a shower of sparklies, turning everything back to normal (granted this part was probably supposed to be the sweet release and peace of death)… and they emerge into an untouched garden of Eden where our fumbling teenagers kiss, and then all dress up and do a happy little dance. Not joking or exaggerating there. This is what happens when you're mandated to have a happy ending but forgot to write the beginning or middle.

If all you want is some goofy zombie killing action, it has enough of that. Given this season and last, that automatically puts it at one of the best things I've watched in recent memory. Like the original series though, it's pretty insubstantial at best, and corny melodrama at worst.


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